Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

And So The Fast Begins

Luke 18:13

But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’

fullsizeoutput_ffeSo my fast begins today – as we walk through the last week of the mid-term elections. Part of my fast is to simply be encouraging rather than enter into the hateful and evil conversations that happen on social media. Everyone thinks they have the answer. Folks think their candidate or party of choice has all of the right answers. Some say the mid-terms are about how well the current POTUS is doing – yet history tells us that rarely does the party in the White House win the mid-terms. We’ll see what happens next week.

What I hope is that our nation will come together. Blue wave or red wave aside – why can’t we just love one another. There doesn’t seem to be any easy answer for sure. I clearly rebuke hate groups who support any candidate or party. I will stand up to support anyone against hate talk and abuse – even if I totally disagree with them. At times – this will be very clear and we can all stand opposed to it. At times – it may not be as clear and we may need it pointed out or to agree to disagree without being disagreeable.

One of the clear truths found in the New Testament in Jesus’ teachings and the teachings of His disciples is that we are all sinners. This truth helps to keep me from being judgmental (it doesn’t always work but I want it to). Paul wrote – Romans 3:23 – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. He also wrote – 1 Timothy 1:15 – Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

Since we have all sinned and even the best among us should consider ourselves the worst of sinners – I would suggest that we focus more on grace than judgment – even during an election year. I would suggest that we not take up sides – but rather offer grace to one another. For those who will celebrate next week – be gracious and sincere in listening to those who are devastated. For those who are in anguish at the defeat their part took – please do not put all who voted differently than you into some lump sum. There are Christians in both major camps of ideology.

I pledge to be a safe person and to help the church I serve to be a safe place. I’m wrestling with and praying about my votes next week. I believe other Christians and other Americans are doing the same. I will not only support every American’s right to vote – as they feel led – but I will also support their right to complain about the results (if they voted). But – please – do so in love rather than with anger and evil hatred.

Here’s today’s passage in partial context. This passage – I believe – reminds us the heart we should have – it also reminds us that our vision should not be horizontal (looking around us) but rather vertical (looking to God). Luke 18:9–14 – 9 To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: 10 “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. 11 The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. 12 I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ 13 “But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ 14 “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Let us humble ourselves and pray for whomever is elected next week – around the US – in our State – and even in our local communities. I know I will not vote a straight party line – I am looking for the best servant of the people – regardless of party. Let us hold all of our leaders accountable to godly principles – in the country and in the church. Let us realize we may not always agree on the issues – but let us all remember that we are all sinners and should not judge one another. Let us keep our eyes vertically focused on God and not horizontal – focused on each other.

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

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November 1, 2018 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, Fast, From the Pastor, Holy Spirit, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Well thought out and Gracefully written. Tom Ellis

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

    Like

    Comment by Thomas Ellis | November 1, 2018 | Reply

  2. I agree completely
    respectful disagreements and honest discussions help us come closer to the best estimate of the truth
    divisions and manipulation contribute to the destruction of our country and church
    may God have mercy on both

    Like

    Comment by Richard Reynnells | November 1, 2018 | Reply


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